I came across this article recently in the Express-News’ Northwest Daily and had to share.
Boerne, population c. 9,400, located about 30 miles northwest of San Antonio, will soon establish a framework for the development of distributed generation.
Under the terms of an ordinance that passed a first reading on July 28, each single-family residence or business could generate solar or wind power for its own use, then send excess energy back to the electric grid, ultimately saving the amount of electricity the city would have to buy from wholesalers.
“This is an opportunity to add renewable power to the electric utility,” said Don Burger, assistant director of Public Works.
Sounds good to me. Several questions remain though.
- What, if any, will the buyback rate be for electricity put back onto the grid from someone’s rooftop solar system or small wind turbine, for example?
- Boerne currently buys all of its electricity from LCRA, which gets most of its power from coal and gas, and is also contracted for 200 MW of the new Sandy Creek coal plant under construction near Waco. Will Boerne adopt a progressive power provision similar to the one adopted by Pedernales Electric that allows PEC to generate up to 35% of its electricity from local sources like energy efficiency and renewable energy?
- Will Boerne set up energy financing districts? HB 1937 (Villareal) passed the Legislature earlier this year. It allows cities to set up districts wherein the city may issue bonds to cover the costs of major energy efficiency improvements or renewable energy projects for homes and/or businesses. The loan would then be repaid by a special voluntary tax assessment on the property.
Boerne is a publicly-owned utility, which means it is accountable to the people of Boerne, not some power company who may not have residents’ interest at heart when making decisions on power. If you live in Boerne, take a moment to express your support for local renewable energy development to mayor Dan Heckler and city council.